I was always taught that a real man lives by his values and convictions, which are regulated by his God given conscience. This means that he won’t join or be persuaded to do anything that he believes deep within isn’t right, no matter what the consequences. This was called self-respect and having integrity.
There was a time when integrity (doing the right thing, even when no one was looking) was valued. I was raised to believe that if you did or joined something that violated your conscience, you were violating your self-respect. I was also taught that a real man sought after his God given talents and purpose with diligence and a strong work ethic. He would not let anyone or anything stop him from obtaining it.
Today, I see and talk to youth; many of them gang members who want to demand immediate respect from others. If they don’t get the respect they feel entitled to, they often unleash verbal epithets or even escalate to physical violence. Many have been given street names by their gang such as, “Do Dirty”, “Puppet” and “Creeper”, which is usually associated with their reputation. They have allowed their street names to replace their birth names which has given them a new identity.
As a correctional counselor, when I ask, “Why are you in a gang, and what are the beliefs behind the mission of your gang?” Often, I get a puzzled and defensive look, followed by a run off of shallow and illogical answers such as:
“That’s just who I am.”
“I’m not allowed to say.”
“Because I’m a gangsta.”
“I grew up in this.”
“I’m protecting my hood.”
“That’s my family.”
When a gang member is faced with the above question, they often come to realize it is a question that they cannot logically answer in good conscience. It’s a question all of them try to avoid, because within the truth, there is no logical answer that will sit right with their conscience. Meaning, there is no honorable purpose in their violent, reckless and immoral pursuits. That’s a hard fact to absorb and live with. This is where drugs, alcohol and reckless behavior come into the picture. These destructive methods can soothe their conscience temporarily by giving them a false sense of peace. However, when they come back, their conscience is still there waiting and pleading for them to change their ways in order to have some inner peace. This is a soul battle that every thug goes through, and one, which many run away from.
Our conscience is what leads and guides us into our true Godly purpose. It is what motivates us to strive for our fullest potential. When we get off course in what our conscience is telling us, we will never have true peace.
When I talk to gang members, I frequently ask, “Are there things that you do as a gang member which goes against your conscience?” I would say 99% answer “yes.” Ninety-nine percent violate their own self- respect, and are so adamant about demanding respect unto themselves from others. This is insecurity. They want something from someone else that they can’t give to themselves.
Knowing the history about various gangs, I show the gang member how their gang was started by one individual’s vision. An individual who obviously had a lot of charisma, an individual who created an organization that persuaded a multitude of others to give up their own God given purpose and identity to follow him. To say with simplicity: gang members (or those in the thug culture) are individuals who have basically given up their own identity to become an identity or dream someone else has created for them.
Conversing with a gang member recently, I confronted him on the issue of violating his self-respect as a gang member, which he adamantly denied. His rebuttal was, “I’m Catholic.” I then asked him if he had asked for forgiveness for the sins he committed as a gang member? He paused for a while, and just smirked as he reluctantly confessed. I went on to inquire: why would he be involved in a gang or organization, which activities violated his Catholic beliefs? I find many gang members wearing crosses and rosaries and other religious symbols on the outside; however what’s inside them, represented by their actions symbolizes just the opposite. How can someone willfully live by two sets of values which contradict each other, wouldn’t that be living a hypocritical lie? How do you respect yourself and have peace knowing that?
In summary, a gang manipulates individuals to lose their God given identity, conditions them to violate their self-respect, and then heads them down a road of temporary gratifications towards self-destruction.
“The way I had to live my life in Compton”
(Referring to family, being rivals of own family)
I been living in Compton all my life and I didn’t really like it that much, because I couldn’t walk out of my house with out getting shot at. One day I was walking out of my grandmother’s house with my uncle when one of my other love one came up with a gun and began to shoot at us. I didn’t get hit, but my uncle and his lil girl got shot in the head. They die right there in front of my grandmother’s house. I really didn’t know what to do because I was mad. My uncle and his lil girl die for no reason. My uncle was not in no gangs at all. He had a job and was taking care of his family. So when all that went down, two weeks later he tried to kill me, but one of my homeboy push me out the way. At that time the gun went off all ready, and hit my homie in the head. I turned around because I didn’t know what was going on by that time the car was getting on. So I turned to my homeboy and seen him with blood all over his face. So I pick him up and tried to talk to him, he tried to say something but I couldn’t make it out. Then he died in my arms. He laid out there for nine hours before they took him away. Then we put him away, may he rest in peace.
What About Your Convictions?
The excuse is often everybody does it, or I have seen Christians do it too. What is it about individuals that use the norms of society and its cultures as a barometer to gage their own morality? What is it about an individual that they’ll bypass their conscience, their own inner convictions of self respect, to meet the moral standards of others? This displays a lack of integrity by the individual believing that the respect of others is more valuable than their self-respect. This only shows how insecure an individual is.
I hear gang members talking about “I’m down for the cause.” When they let me challenge them on the purpose of their cause, it has been my experience that they all will reluctantly admit it goes against their conscience. I reiterate to them, over and over, that a true man only takes up a cause that is in alignment with their true inner convictions. Violating that inner conviction would be to violate their self-respect. Where is the honor in that?
Jesus the Real Man
The thug mentality attempts to define what a true man is. This culture portrays males with characteristics of: violent behavior, selfish motives and reckless behavior. This is only an imposter of the one true role model of man, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the author of man, demonstrated that a true man is loving, brave and unselfish. He displayed this by humbling himself in taking on the most excruciating, emotional and physical pain beyond human comprehension. He knew what his task was ahead of time, but still bravely, heroically and lovingly walked the course to the most horrific death in history to save man. Jesus is the only one who qualifies to define and set the standard of what a true man is.
On a daily basis, I talk to individuals who have gone through the most horrific childhoods imaginable. Full of abuse, neglect, and tragedies many I talk to feel that they are unwanted or a product of an accidental pregnancy. They believe that they are unloved and of little or no value, and live their life according to this belief.
Many gang members have told me that the reason they act so crazy and “hard”, is because they don’t care about living: putting their life in danger is no big deal to them. Some say they prefer to be killed than commit suicide. The majority convey to me that they feel suicide is a cowardly act to get out the “game” (life).
On the lock-up unit where I currently work, the classic cliché is “I don’t care,” or “I don’t give a f%#@!” The majority of the wards I work with have been abused as children. Many have expressed low self-worth they developed after the victimization.
Basic psychology tells us that individuals strive to obtain a purpose in life, to love and to be loved. In a small group a couple of weeks ago. I made a statement in front of six gang members on a lock-up unit, who were seated in individual cages. I said that there would be a lot more suicides if it weren’t for gangs (said not in a way to condone gangs). They looked inquisitively at me when I said that. It got quiet, but as I scanned each individual, I began to see nods and heard verbal confirmations of the statement I had just made. During our discussion, it was conveyed by all of them that their gang was their substitute family, from which they obtained support, praise, encouragement, love and purpose. They believed that almost everything they needed in life was encompassed within their gang. Many of the wards at the correctional facility have taken bullets and done time for members in their gang. There is often a sacrificial, sincere love and camaraderie among gang members. That is why so many of them tell me it’s hard to get out, even when they know it’s sending them down a road of self destruction.
Telling them to quit their gang is like telling them to abandon their family and give up their purpose for living. In their eyes, it is asking them to give up not only their family and purpose, but their friends, excitement, money, parties, respect and most importantly identity. They spent years earning their respect, building a name for themselves, and developing relationships that exemplify that of a close-knit, loving family. Many of their “O.G. homies” stepped in as their father figues when their own fathers stepped out.
Many of these wards have admirable qualities. Their manifested qualities utilized in their gang culture are: commitment, creativity, bravery,unselfishness, confidence and teamwork, to name a few. Not condoning the gang culture, I don’t believe that you necessarily have to totally tear someone all the way down to the ground in order to build them back up. We must learn to build up others, and see all individuals as God sees them: as gifted, unique and valuable. I look for these hidden qualities, even in these individuals and to consistently compliment them, no matter how they continue to act in other areas.
Whether it’s a good sense of humor, the gift of gab, a disciplined work-out routine, good reading habits, or a clean and organized room, I let them know that I notice it by complimenting them. I then explain to them how that characteristic can be an asset to them in the future.
In my years of working with incarcerated youth, I have seen some amazing artistic talent. I have seen a ward make spectacular, detailed sculptures from state soap. Another ward has made realistic colored roses from toilet paper and Kool-Aid.Also others have made paper frames, plant holders, baby shoes and a variety of animals, all out of potato chip bags. I have know wards who have figured out how to make grilled cheese sandwiches on their metal desk seat, and how to use their toilet to boil noodles. I was talking to my co-worker the other day about this topic, and he told me he knew a ward who made a satellite dish out of a toilet paper roll, tinfoil, and some copper wires. He was able to get ESPN.
Many of these individuals have never or rarely received any sincere praise or compliments outside of their gang; however, within their gang, they receive an abundance of unconditional love, attention and praise from their peers.
Some of the most spectacular buildings in our cities were buildings that were once condemned. All it took was a contractor who looked past the damage to see the value in a building’s design, brickwork and frame, and renovated it into something spectacular and valuable.
God looks at us in the same way; he finds the good qualities in everyone, whether on the surface or deep within the destructive facade. His desire is to go in and help us renovate and refurbish the splendor that is within. The way he looks at us is the way he wants us to view others, so make it a habit to search for value in everyone.
“The Soap Artist”
I acquired a skill that I now use to keep my mind mentally strong for anything. I refuse to lose the battle of “self gratification”. Things, which please me being an individual who is incarcerated is that my talents are placed at a certain limit. That of which I daily try to break in any way possible, where there’s a will there’s a way whether it’s using ink as dye or colored powder kool aid as a coloring. How I acquired my skill is by being in the worst position I’ve ever been in while being incarcerated.
It started about 2 and a half years ago what I thought was going to be a simple five on one premeditated attack turned into a four on two incident which soon led me to the holding cell where I ended up on “Chilly Willy” (A time out which you are striped of your bedding, clothes and all personal items. Due to the fact that I instigated the incident I was placed in this position where all I had to my name was a bar of soap and toothpaste. Mentally I was close to the point of a break down, but I’m stronger than that and I refused to go out like that to any individual somewhere deep down in the resources of my mind I began to create chess pieces with the soap using the broken toothpaste lid as a tool. I succeeded in winning the battle of self gratification mentally. I told myself if I can get through this then there is no limit to what I can do. I was actually enjoying the position I was in as awkward as that may sound.
Almost two days later I received my personals and bedding, I hadn’t slept for a few days so I fell into a deep sleep when I awoke I saw what I had made two ponds and a castle. It actually impressed me. Homies started making orders of things they would like letters of their varrios, roses, hinas (women), “smile now, cry later”, the Raiders shield, ash trays with a weed leaf in the center. Tinker Bell, Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, full scale Martain Luther King speech and much more. I began this particular endeavor to teach myself a lesson that of which I learned a lot more, it’s hard to tell how far my creativity will take me in life, I don’t do it for other people I do it because I enjoy testing my limits and seeing the reactions of people who so wrongly judge inmates who are incarcerated. I take joy in this and many other arts and crafts so hopefully I continue when I’m out which most likely I will.
The Rich Suburban Thug
The other day, on a lock-up unit, I was talking to a ward who was locked up for stealing a computer. This ward came from an extremely wealthy family: His father owns a very successful business worth in the very high millions, lives in a multi-million dollar mansion which includes an 11-car garage, has maids and a full-time chef. When I asked about his parents, he told me that his parents were church-going individuals and well respected in their community. He hadn’t experienced any abuse or neglect, he believed both of his parents loved him very much and still remained faithfully in contact with him during his incarceration. So what happened? I asked him directly. He told me that his parents had set extremely high goals for him, which stressed him out. They wanted him to be a lawyer or doctor. They and their church-going friends disapproved of his peer group, which he says made him cling to his friends even more. He felt that, though they loved him, they didn’t care what his aspirations and goals were. They had his life plans set in stone, and attempted to keep him focused on the course that would make them proud of him. When I asked what he wanted to do with his life, he said he wanted to do something adventurous, but wasn’t sure exactly what. He told me of his adventures of running away from home and jumping on a train and letting the train take him where ever. Money didn’t matter to him; he said he had no desire to be rich. He just wanted to be free to live out his life in his own uniqueness. At an early age, when the pressure from his parents got too much for him, he rebelled by going 180 degrees from whatever they told him. He thought by doing this, they would give up hope and leave him alone (paraphrasing), “it didn’t work,” he told me. He lifts up his right shirt sleeve and shows me a demonic looking tattoo of a dragon on his bicep. “I thought this would piss my parents off, that’s why I got this.” “I’m in here for something my friend did, but I didn’t want to see him get locked up again, so I said the computer was mine. My dad tried to get a lawyer for me, but I told him I didn’t want one. I didn’t think they would send me to Y.A. for stealing a computer, that’s why I admitted to it. My parents were really mad at me.” He said he didn’t gang-bang, because he didn’t want anyone telling him what to do. When he arrived in Y.A., many of the white supremacist gangs approached him to join them. “I’m on site (a target by gangs) by almost everyone.” “Why?” I asked. “Because I flipped their deadsh#t.” (term used by gangs to ultimately disrespect someone, by referring in a disrespect manner to their dead loved ones). Again, I asked him why? “I don’t know,” he replied. “Don’t you know that your making it dangerous for yourself in here?,” I asked. “Yeah, I guess,” he said. Below is more of this ward’s story, told in his own words.
“The Rich Ward”
I’m inmate 8#### doing a 2 year sentence for receiving a stolen laptop computer. In reality I had nothing to do with the computer, I just didn’t want a homeboy to get violated and go back to prison for eight years. If you believe me or not that’s totally up to you. What you should know is, “If I really wanted a laptop computer, I could go and buy a hundred million of them and still have money left over to buy about ten houses the size of the white house, a couple of Jags, BMW’s, Porsches and a Rolex watch. Then still have money in my pocket. I was born to a mother that is a doctor, and a father who owns an ——– company making around 130 million a year. My dad dies, leaving a nice chunk of change for the family. Well, my mother remarries to a man who owns his own stock broking company, making around 45 million a year. So what I’m trying to say is I’ve always been around lots and lots of money.
I’m not writing this to brag, I’m writing this to tell people that being born to a rich family is not what it seems, that you just have an easy life with no strings attached, well think again! Growing up, I always went to private schools, I was taught that being rich makes you better than everyone else. There a lot of expectations you have – or more like you parents have for you. My parents wanted me to have straight A’s, to speak 4 or 5 different languages besides English, they wanted me to be the most popular kid, they wanted me to go to Princeton, Harvard, Stanford or West Point University. They set the goals for me, I didn’t get to choose, it’s what they wanted, not what I wanted.
So at 16, I rebelled. I started hanging around middle class people, even people from the ghetto. I felt they were more down to earth. I started smoking weed and drinking once in a while. I got so sick of being around rich little snobs and even more sick of being someone I’m not. So I dropped out of school, sports, out of church and completely changed my life.
My parents tried to bring me back. They put me in drug rehab, got me counselors, shrinks, but I didn’t want anything from them. I kept telling my parents, “You can’t help a person that doesn’t want help!” but they didn’t get it! Even to this day they tell me that I’ll grow out this phase. For some people it’s a phase, for me it’s a journey I wanna take, and it only just begun.
My dream is to become a S.W.A.T. member, sky diving instructor, a preschool teacher, or just a drifter going from there to here to there.
“Girl Gang Banger”
I always looked at girls to be a lady, so I never went out my way to call them out of there name until one day I was in my hood and this girl came by, she was looking very good. Me and some of my other homies was talking about who was going to go over there and get at her. So when we was doing that one of my lil homies, who was a new nigga on the block went over to get at her. So one of my other homies saw that he was going to get at her so he went behind him. They were over there talking to the girl, then out of nowhere she came out with a gun and shot my lil homie right in the head. It happened too fast for me to react, so one of my other homies came out with his gun and started to shoot at her, when he was doing that a car came from down the road and my other homie began to shoot at the car, in the mean time, ol’ girl was shooting at my homies. She then jumped into the car. So they took off going back to their hood. One of my homies was who was in his car took off behind them, but the bad part about it was that I was on the hood of his car when they start to shoot at him. I didn’t get hit or anything, but I was in the middle of a shoot out. So we didn’t get them, they got away. So we turned the car around and went back to the hood. When returning back to the hood the homie who got shot in the head was dead. So what I’m saying , girl gangbangers will set you up too, so be on the look out, cause they will turn you on with sexy looks and let you get your n**, then have some niggas come and wet you up. I wouldn’t wish this on no man, because I feel every man was put here to do good work, no matter if he like it or not. The only reason the girl shot my lil homie was to get her name for her hood. She killed him right in front of his mama and his little sister. They were coming down the road from the store, his mama use to be on his head for being out there with the homies. So when he use to see his mama coming he use to run and hide, because he knew that she was going to be on him for being out there with us. She told him one day on the block, that if he stay out on the block with the homies that he was going to end up in jail or that he was going to get killed. Sorry to say it, but she was right, may my lil homie rest in peace now, he is in a better place now, I hope that he is doing the plan that God got going for him. I’m sorry that you had to die young homie, you knew what they say, the good die young, but it shouldn’t be that way.
I’ve been a member of the —— ——– Pirus since April 19–. I use to hang out with friends that were gang members. My mother, brothers, uncles, father and cousins were part of my gang and other gangs, so when my friends finally asked me if I wanted to become a member it was easy for me to agree due to the fact I already accepted the lifestyle being in the surroundings I was in. My friends took me to some older homeboys and told them I wanted to be a Piru and one ask me “lil man you sure you want to be down wit the Pirus”, I said yeah I want in. “At that point I became nervous because I already knew how the initiation goes, but I told myself my brother made it so I will to. The older homeboy called seven young Pirus over and told them they gone put me on. So some of them started taking off their shirts putting their guns on the grass and tying there shoes tight. The only thing the older homeboy said when it was time was “He got family from the hood so don’t stomp him”, and the punches started. All I could really do was close my eyes and swing. The beat down lasted for about a hundred and # seconds because all the initiations in my gang are for a hundred and — or a hundred and —- seconds because those are two major streets in my hood. Afterwards my eye began to swell shut immediately my nose was busted, my lip was split and I had numerous knots all over my head. I was congratulated and told this is a job, the hood is more important than god, school, and everything else. The older homeboys started saying what we gone call you? and I said I don’t know. The older homeboy that was doing most of the talking said, “ I like you blood you gone be my little homie and be a c-@# killer just like me.” His name was Big ——– and so I went on to become Little ——–. I was told everything I need to know, meted with everybody I needed to meet and started officially gangbangin as a new recruit on the rise to become a gang recruiter.
A gang recruiter is someone who gets you the proper resources and certification you need to be a gang member. There’s two types of gang recruiters in every gang: 1. A part time gang recruiter and 2. A full time gang recruiter.
A part time gang recruiter could be anybody that is officially from a gang, which was what my friends that recruited me were. What a part time gang recruiter would do is take the person who wants to become a member and go and meet with the members that have authority to make the decision to accept or reject that persons proposition of wanting to join. For example: If you meet somebody that never been to church and have become interested in becoming a Christian after a talk about god and doesn’t know how to pray, you can teach them how to pray and how to seek Christ, but you can not get them into heaven, so basically a part time gang recruiter shows you who to go to and get initiated but cannot do it by there self due to the fact the mass majority of part time gang recruiters are members with little or no respect, beginners in the gang, don’t care about finding recruiters part time of fulltime, or focus there time mostly on shooting enemies, selling drugs, robbing people and patrolling the neighborhood. Every part time gang recruiter will eventually run into someone that’s cool and wants to join there gang or someone who’s been rejecting gang banging and is now ready to accept life as a terrorist and so it would be handled accordingly by the part time gang recruiting standards.
A Full time gang recruiter can only be people with high levels of respect, knows the history of the gang, and is not a freshman (A freshman is considered 5 yrs. Experience and under.) This is needed because being able to initiate name and eliminate members if need be is considered power in the gang community, also being able to say something without nobody objecting is considered major respect. Ninety eight percent of all fulltime gang recruiters have done time, murdered people, is known practically by everybody in the gang. Is feared and usually are the one that take the new recruiter on there first shootings and test the recruits mentally and physically for combat. Every fulltime gang recruiter has something in common regardless if it’s crip, blood, piru. They are chamillions they change their character to fit your persona. For example: if you were a youth that goes to church it is common for a fulltime gang recruiter looking for new recruits to tell you, “ I go to church too, if we go on Sunday it’s okay for us to gangbang Monday through Saturday and I know it happens like that because I’ve recruited gang members right out of church before. I remember another incident when I found a potential member at the park and played with him, got acquainted with him and built a cool relationship with him, after a while I would start asking how he felt about being from my gang of course at first they’ll object, but good recruiters know how to talk and will use any and I mean any means necessary to recruit. Why you acting like you don’t want to be in my gang and besides were suppose to be friends. There’s plenty of people in my gang that wants to play with you , but you have to be from the hood because it’s disrespecting to there image. Sometimes that all it takes I manipulated a dozen more people just like him the same way.
Who’s at Risk:
Anybody can be influenced to become a gang member. I’ve recruited a person 25 years old and have seen older then that as well as young as seven or eight years old. The main target of gang recruiters as far as what type of people are your people, preferably between the ages of 9 and 15 years old. The older you are the more aware you become with your senses which make it harder to influence you even though it’s not impossible gang recruiters favor easy ways of doing thing which makes 9 to 15 the easiest. The majority of young people follow crowds and the majority of young people follow the first crowd of people they can call real friends. When I recruit I go after young people who have family members already in gangs, young people who have had a relative killed in gang violence, dysfunctional families, single parents who are never at home or who never spend time with there children, loners and the ones that are curious. My reason is these kinds of youth are easily influenced when introduced to new activities and especially influenced when they see the materials I have such as money,drugs,guns not knowing the likely hood of them even reaching the stage I have is 10 to 1, they’ll probably end up doing life, murdered before they make it half way, but I always can just recruit somebody else. I convince them that a gang can fill that emptiness they feel or take away the pain of there situations basically the answer to there problems. Most recruiters make it seem like an adventure that’s fun and that nothings going to happen that was not suppose to happen already. Instead on informing the youth that it’s a dangerous lifestyle that can get you murdered seriously hurt or in soo much trouble you’ll never be able to get out. So we as gang recruiters know no young person is going to join anything that’s gone to get them in that type of trouble.
There’s two types of youth that make up all the different types of potential victims of gang recruiters. They make up the population of this world and that’s Followers and Leaders, so knowing that I along with a lot of experienced recruiters recruited a lot more people then we should have. I remember a while back before I was locked up I seen the influence of one of my now homies had on his friends. He was the model friend decision maker for them. Based on I recognized that there was no need to individually ask all of them did they want to join, I simply put the pressure on the leader once he gave in it was only a matter of days as I predicted it to be, for all his followers to follow his footsteps in becoming gang members. All experience recruiters have good eyes in seeing future killers, robbers, dope dealers, people to fill those jail cells, along the graves in the cemetery the definition of good eyes is no matter how strong how weak how scary or solid, any individual is, everybody can be utilized and participate is some sort of way in gang violence. If an experienced recruiter notices you’re a weak link he will make you go and kill someone before you are jumped in so even if you don’t kill again you already did your part in destroying our community.
There’s three things that makes a gang stand: 1. Members without members there wouldn’t be no gang. 2. Territory without a foundation or area to call the hood the gang wouldn’t last because divided you fall and together you’ll stand tall for example: There would be no use to own a house’s perimeter with no house just like a gang, how can you say you have a gang with no territory. 3. Recruiters without new recruits to replace the gang members that are murdered, the ones that get life, abandon the gang, get paralyzed or any other reason that makes a gang member inactive. The gang would eventually get smaller until it vanishes due to no replacements. One of the most important things in a gang are the recruiters. With them you still see the other two ingredients that make a gang stand, fall into place.
My life was very hard growing up in Compton. It was a lot of gangs, drugs and girls. It was very bad for me and my family. I was not going to school because I was on the corner selling rocks so I could feed my family. My family was very poor. They do not have jobs. My pops is in jail for life so I had to watch over my little brother. My mom was on drugs. I was in and out of jail because of my gang. I joined a gang because they had a lot of money, cars, women and drugs. I joined a gang because of the money. I had to take care of my family because we did not have no money so I had to go out there and make some money so we could eat food every night and pay the bills.
My life, my ways, the struggle I face day by day, I often wish I could close my eyes and drift away. It seems like I’m stuck in a bad dream, brokenhearted from all I’ve experienced and all I’ve seen. Still young and green. Imagine a child locked in a prison scene. Lost hope for what tomorrow will bring, paying his dues for staying true to the game. If promised love, respect, money and fame, but in all reality all it gave was pain. It had him locked in a chain, time trying to corrupt his brain. Struggling to stay tame, hoping for a change, can’t stop the adrenaline from flowing in his veins. Unable to ease his troubled mind, just reminiscing to go back in time. Lost so many partners in crime, very few homies left, sometimes it feels like I’m taking my last breath and if I die, I often wonder who will cry. Hypnotized gangsta with no comprehension, a never ending cycle, another dimension, where life only goes in two directions.
“White Crip from Long Beach”
My name is ——-. I’m 18 years old and was Born November –, 198- . I was born in ********, California, but raised in Long Beach, California. Since the age of 9 1/2 -10 years old. I really started getting in trouble at the age of 8. I t started with getting into fights and getting kicked outa school. After so many (as in a couple) years of getting in trouble I was sent to Long Beach to live with my grand parents. This is where I started a whole new life.
Well the place I was living at, was not the appropriate environment that I should have been in. I was one of a very few white kids in the area. Well for that reason, I was involved in multiple fights to prove a point to where I knew that when I walked out the house I had to knuckle up and that’s what I did until 199#. At that time, I was known around the community to the point that I would rarely have issues. Well at the end of 199# I was introduced to a gang called “—— Crip Gang”. At that time I was jumped in and involved as well. I was called “———“ and this was a neighborhood known as one of the most hated, but well respected I was introduced to females (******) to be specific that were involved to the gang more than most females.
Well after a couple more years of doing what I did, I was finally known to my neighborhood as a keeper(200#) about this time I was locked up for 1st Degree Burglary, Discharge of a Fire Arm and Gang Related Home Invasions. It’s now 200# and I’m still locked up in CYA hoping to get out in 200#.”
“I’m a white boy that has white supremacist beliefs”
Music is an expression of my individualism. I feel that the types of music that attract me are the ones that represent the type of culture I grew up in and the one that I live in today. I am 20 years old and was raised predominantly in Fresno, California, and I’m a white boy that has white supremacist beliefs and tattoos and support every type of music that stays true to rock and roll. Punk and country and they’re cultural backgrounds. Predominately I listen to new age metal and rock but have also been into alternative , punk and recently country due to a few of the roommates I’ve had while incarcerated in Chad since February of ’03. Some of my favorite groups are Tool, Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Alice in Chains, Hate Breed, Korn, Mega Death and so on . Certain verses and quotes that have stood out in my head over the years that represent my frame of mind at times are: “Now is the time for me to rise to my feet, wipe your spit from face, wipe these tears from my eyes” (By:Hate Breed) “ The world is an ashtray, we burn in side like cigarettes (By: Marilyn Manson). “Fu#% Authority, sound of majority, raise by the system, now it’s time we rise against them.”(By:Pennywise) I listen to a lot of classic rock too like Led Zeplin, The Eagles, Foreigner, and so on. In conclusion I hope to party and live like a rock star in the future!
Darkness imprisoning me all that I see absolute horror I cannot live, I cannot die .Landmines have taken my sight, taken my speck, taken my hair and taken my arms. Taken my legs left me with life in Hell” Metallica “One”.
“Why Join a Gang?”
(From an Asian perspective)
There’s many similar reasons why adolescents of all races, sex or religions join gangs. I can’t speak for all, but I can certainly give a perspective from an Asian point of view, more specifically; from a group of Vietnamese known as “The Boat People” and from one that’s been there and done that. For those that are not familiar with the phrase “The Boat People” allow me to clarify it for you. “The Boat People” are the products and or results following the Vietnam War. After the fall of Saigon and the American troops pulled out of South Vietnam the country fell to communism; but the idea of Democracy was harbored in a lot of Vietnamese minds, which included lots of Northern Vietnamese who’d practiced in communism only as a necessity. From these minds came plots and attempts to escape the country. Countless perished in these attempts for a better life and those that made it out of the country were being hoarded for a gruesome journey in the refugee’s camp. I’ve had firsthand experienced with the journey and for deeply personal reasons I don’t care to get into any further.
Back to the main subject. Now in America, a considerable and majority amount of Vietnamese are the “Boat People”. A lot these “boat people” had kids with them when they escaped from Vietnam. Here in America these kids became adolescent and those that can’t handle the pressure of a cultural clash – this is where delinquency began. Take myself for example: All of my family members are over achievers so my family’s expectation is very high. Being the youngest one of the siblings I felt the expectation was for me to surpass all of my brothers and sisters. I failed. I came from an old family heritage, so tradition and morals were very strict. I went to school and meet new friends and tried to be Americanized. I prevailed. You see, it felt good to curse, it felt good to put your leg on the table and smoke a cigarette. Of course, not in front of my parents yet… Yeah! I was feeling really Americanized, really grown up. At school I started hanging around a different group. Can you guess who? The “Boat People’s” kids, that’s right. It was instant bond, similar background, similar problems, and a huge understanding for each other. My new friends became my extended family and in time they took dominance. They were my priority. We didn’t start out with extortions, prostitution, home invasion murders, etc.; we started out as rebels from our families. In a way, everyone rebels from their parents one time or another, it just the “Boat People” had a lot more factors to rebel from. This was my mind set at the time: I escaped from a country full of oppression – why should I come to America and follow so many house rules? Especially when so many kids at school are doing their own thing. I misinterpreted what being free is all about so kept moving in my ignorant ways. My friends and I started to cut school, come home late after school, smoke in front of our parents, and when our parents lost control to us, it was really on. It was like having a family that supported you for whatever you do, so you don’t care what you do. See, in my country the value of human life is very cheap and respect and honor preside on the top of values. In almost all situations, killing your enemy because he’s a threat to your family is more acceptable than stealing something. Thus, and when your family is a group of delinquents, there is gonna be a lot of killing. That’s why you notice that the ratio of Asians being locked up is not a lot, but the ones that are locked up, a lot of them are in for serious crimes; home invasion, murders etc. In my country you are taught to hide, or even better, banish all of your emotions, while Americans teach you to express your feelings. That’s one of the reasons that a Vietnamese kid that came here by way of the “Boat People” could kill you and hardly show any remorse in doing so. That’s what happened with me. Although I’ve been a long way since I got locked up in the beginning of “9#”. I’ve learned the value of life, remorse, empathy, expressing my feelings, etc.
I’ve also realized that it is not so bad to follow the road your parents pave for you because all they want is to protect you. Whatever hardship they went through or experienced they try to shelter you from it. So you see, when I said “I prevailed”, what really happened is that “I lost.”
“I am a White Separatist”
Some people say racism is a psychological disorder and will try to prescribe us a drug or others will say racism is born of ignorance and wants to “teach” us to abandon our “evil” ways. The public has been taught that we are all evil and hate filled people who just want to kill everybody and take over the world, this is not the truth at all.
I, myself am a racist and I can tell you I wish not harm on anybody just because he is an African , Mexican, Asian or any other race or ethnicity. I do not “hate” anybody because they are different than me. The American has a very warped sense of the word racism. Through centuries of psychological conditioning Americans, when they hear the word “racism” automatically they see a picture of Adolph Hitler killing Jews or some Klansmen burning a cross. This is not the case. Some of your friends and neighbors might be racist, the most prominent people in American society are racist. It is not “bad” or “evil” to be racist.
What is racism? Webster’s Dictionary defines racism as” discriminating based on the belief that some races are by nature superior.” I tell you this is not true. Racism, as with any ism such as nationalism or patriotism, is being a advocate of and having an affinity for your own people. Nobody tells a Nationalist he is evil for wanting to do what is right for his own homeland. Nobody tells a patriot he should not love his country. By the same token we should not be prejudiced because we love and want only good for our people.
Before I expound more on what I believe I want to be aware that I am not a White Supremacist , I am a White Separatist. I believe that every race or culture was created with in born characteristics to aide in it’s survival. I myself have studied the histories of many different cultures and there are admirable traits which they posses, but they are not my race.
The white race is a beautiful people who have risen out of time as a great nation of civilization builders. We matured out of harsh climate conditions and murderous wondering peoples hunting for our lives. We learned to love and respect the nature that kept us alive.
These are the laws which we must now once again rediscover. The laws or nature are the only immutable laws which never change and must be paid obedience. We must separate ourselves from these invading hordes. Throughout time when geographical barriers are broken down it leads to miscegenation and destruction of one or both of the races. In America, we have been brainwashed to believe that “multi-culturalism” is good. But, what is never said is that it is at the expense of white lives.
I don’t believe that different cultures or races should be allowed into our country. Right now, our immigration policies allow about 900,000 people into our country each year, out of those 900,000 or so less than 10% come from European countries. This is not a good thing. Combine this with the standard of living forcing the women out of the home to make a living, rampant feminism causing women to feel that they are inadequate if they are “just house wives” or mothers, the rise of the gay movement, and being bombarded by a barrage of inter racial marriage propaganda, the white race is on a path for destruction.
We need to seal off our borders, get to the root of the problem and deal with it. We need to take back our media, our educational system and make our people, young and old, proud of who they are. Our people have shed precious blood to establish a home for us, we cannot let that all be for naught. It may be rough at first and it will probably get worse before it gets better, but we must be immovable in our position, indisputable in our beliefs, and we will prevail.
“A Day in CYA”
I wake up in the morning at 5:45 a.m. I brush my teeth make my bed and clean my room then I look out my window to see what kind of day it’s gonna be. Then I go to my front window and I see three staff working. I then call for one of them to let me out for a shower but they say “let me take out my program and pass out breakfast and then I’ll pull you out for your shower,” so I eat breakfast and then they pull me out for my shower. I spend about 30 to 45 minutes in the shower, then I get dressed, come back to my room, and read my book for a couple of hours, but every time I hear a door open or close I go to my window to see who it is then I start reading again. Around 10:45 a.m. lunch comes: I eat, then I brush my teeth, reflect on the dream I had the night before, and go into fantasy land for about an hour: I make plans for when I get out and while I’m in here. I snap back to reality and start to write rap songs or love songs and sometimes I practice my freestyles. Every time I look out my room I see someone in shackles or handcuffs going to use the phone or going to shower or going to program or to a group. Sometimes I see people fight then I think “ d**n do I want to live this way forever?” and I tell myself “I’m in a room by myself for 23 hours a day and I have to strip naked every time I come out of my room: I don’t want to live like this forever,” but then I pick up my book and start reading again or I start yelling 194 Thug Mentality Exposed for the mail bag or for program. When I go out to program I go into a cage by myself for one hour and if we get lucky, a little extra time. I’ve done spent four birthdays in this place: I have another one coming up in 11 days. May — will be my last birthday locked up, then I’m done. Well, when I come back from program they pass out dinner bags, around 4:30 p.m. I get on my door and yell “Put the radio on Mega 100: oldies and R&B!” We listen to that for about 4 hours, and then someone yells, “put on the TV, there’s a movie on Channel 40 ‘cause it’s Friday night movies,” so I roll up my bed and put it in front of my door so I could sit on it and watch TV. I get all my snacks that I’ve been saving all week just for Friday night movies. I eat my snacks and watch the movie until 10:00pm. Then the staff goes home and I unroll my bed, tie my sheets back on, and make my bed. Then I clean my room and wash my face and brush my teeth, then I lay down and go to sleep.
“Story of a Bulldog”
Well, it all started at age 8, when I first realized what my dad was doing. My dad was in and out of juvenile hall and then he went to Y.A. I heard he was doing good when he got out of Y.A., but I guess he got caught up for selling dope. So when my dad got caught he went to the pen, he did 2 years, got out on parole, 7 months later he was back in the pen for violating parole. He paroled 3 years later, he came home all tattooed down from head to feet. I looked at my mom and asked “who is that?”, and my dad said, “It’s me, your father.” So this was when it all happened; when I first got jumped into Fresno —- Bulldogs. I wanted to bang so I asked my dad to jump me into the Bulldogs. He looked at me, with a beer in his right hand and said to me, “So I been waiting for you to tell me that.” I thought he was going to beat my little a*s up, but I guess he didn’t, I was glad.
When I got jumped into my gang I was only 13 years old, and I was doing drugs at that age with my dad. My father always told me he wanted me to grow up just like him, and to be real with yourself. I wanted to be just like him, because everyone that knows him is scared of him. I learned my organizations history at a young age, so I was doing good.
I started getting locked up at age 13. The first charge I got was for having a gun, and then I got two charges of hit and run, and then for selling dope. I refused to get handcuffed, spit at a cop, and gave them false information.
I did a lot of stupid things that I wish I could go back and ask those people for forgiveness for. I got in trouble again for selling dope and went back to the hall. I was messed up. Then this lady named —— came to my window and asked me if I was coming to Bible study that Monday. I said, “I don’t know”. I’d been going to Bible study for a long time and the Monday came. I was sleeping when they knocked on my door to tell me to go to bible study. I was too lazy to get up and I said, “I don’t want to go today.” I was going to try to go back to sleep, but I had a strong feeling that told me to go to Bible study, so I yelled out for staff and they came and asked me what I wanted. I said I wanted to go to Bible study if I still can go. They let me go to Bible study. We had 7 minutes to go back to our rooms, and I went to the lady and asked her if she can pray for me. So she put her hand on my forehead and started to pray, out of nowhere I hit the floor and then everything went black for a couple of seconds. Then I saw a bright light and walked to it. I couldn’t see that good, but I know that I saw a cross and a man on that cross. I tried to go closer to see, and out of nowhere I started crying because I know what was on that cross it was God. So from that moment I looked at my homies and said you can call me a B***h or a Nac or Leva, but from this day I don’t bang any more.
I still bang because I came to Y.A. and found out that my girl just had my baby, so I knew that I couldn’t stop banging, because the people that I had hurt before will want to hurt my family and I don’t want anything to happen to my little boy or my brothers or sisters or my mom and dad. I love them too much to get them hurt.
I don’t want my little boy growing up like me; I want him to become someone in life. I will try my best for him not to grow up like his dad. When I’m at home with my dad and mom I get high with them. I spend almost all day with them because I love them, we go to the parks and get high, I drink beer with my dad.
But my mom don’t drink, she don’t like us drinking, but it’s all right. Now I’m in Y.A. feeling sorry for myself. But in a way I’m glad I’m in Y.A., because I’m showing my father I ain’t no punk, I could do Y.A and grow up just like my dad. Like I said, my dad wants me to be just like him. He writes me letters and tells me that I’m just like him and tells me that he gives me a lot of respect, because I show no weakness to him or anyone in Y.A., so all I have to do now is max out, then go to the pen, that’s my goal. But I’m not going to let my kid follow my footsteps; I want my boy to be someone in life. I don’t want him being like me.
Like I said, I’m in Y.A., I came to Y.A. December 200#, and I don’t max out ‘till 200#. To be real, if I knew my girlfriend was pregnant, I don’t think I would have been in Y.A. I would have disappointed my father. Like I told you, I stopped banging and when I heard them say I was going to Y.A., I asked the homies if I could come back up, and they said I could come back up, but that wasn’t the reason I wanted to bang again. I did it for my family and kid’s protection. The reason I wrote this was because I don’t want you kids or people to follow my footsteps, because all I do is watch my back. So remember what I said, and remember this if you’re in Y.A. or the pen and you have a kid or a family out there. Remember the next time you step out of your room that it may be the last time you ever see them. My best advice from me to you is: don’t bang and make the same mistakes I did in life.